Wednesday, October 31, 2012


Cartoonist Bob Gorrell provided this editorial comic ahead of the last presidential debate.  The reference to Sisyphus is interesting but is there much logic of the piece? Would any POTUS have more success trying to drag the globe up an incline rather than pushing it?  Meh.  Politics. 

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Apple Maps fails part 3

And the Apple Maps fails just keep a comin':

Update: Looks like the exec responsible for the mess was asked to resign because of it.

Some actual cartoons this time.  The first one, by Cameron Cardow, ran in the brief window of overlap between the scab NFL referee news cycle and the Apple Maps fiasco:

The next one is by Mike Keefe and sticks pretty closely to a strict Apple Maps fail script:

Then we can do some Hogwarts:

... and get lost with Lost:

 And finish things up with a fun animated GIF (ya might need to click on it to get the animation effect):

Friday, October 26, 2012


Does this qualify as election-season graffiti, or simply generic political graffiti? 

Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Sound of Earth

Travel around the globe and collect recordings of sounds in all the places you visit. Then make a spherical record of those sounds. Create a new kind of record player that can play the spherical record. Then post to the web. That's what artist Yuri Suzuki did in his project "The Sound of Earth". Below is a short film about the project. The full 30-minute recording is here.

...not to be confused with Earth's humming.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Travelling Salesman two-fer

While there are still a lot more items to post about the Apple Maps troubles, we'll take a break from that this week and post a two-fer from everybody's favorite science/math/tech themed webcomic: xkcd by  Randall Munroe.  Today's two-fer has to do with the "travelling salesman" problem which is a central component of geospatial network and logistics analysis.   
The connection to mapping in this first example is relatively obvious as the representation of the problem is roughly the shape of the U.S.A.

The "title-text" at the actual webcomic says:
What's the complexity class of the best linear programming cutting-plane techniques? I couldn't find it anywhere. Man, the Garfield guy doesn't have these problems ...

The second one is more about just the traveling salesman problem as applied to relationships. Title text:  
It's like the traveling salesman problem, but the endpoints are different and you can't ask your friends for help because they're sitting three seats down.

I originally meant to post this one to tie into the xkcd comic.  It's from Matthew Inman at The Oatmeal (click on it to make it big enough to read):

Monday, October 22, 2012

Questionable GPS

A few months ago we had a nice story arc from Questionable Content by J. Jacques that featured spectacular views of Earth from space.  Today we have an installment of Questionable Content that involves a GPS joke.  The pink-haired girl in the middle there is an android so her GPS isn't something she's checking on her smart phone... she is effectively a smart phone... or more correctly an artificially intelligent sentient independently mobile .... entity... I don't think any part of her could be used as a phone.... and before her recent chassis upgrade she was about a foot tall.

So I'm not understanding why the car isn't autonomous. Maybe it's vintage.  Some of this crew seems to like "vintage"... although that usually means steampunk.

Friday, October 19, 2012

P B & Map

The people over at Vintage Ads have a collection of peanut butter print ads.  This one for Beverly brand peanut butter uses a map.  They also have one that uses Norman Rockwell art.  I think I''m a little afraid to know what they did to the peanut butter to "stabilize" it.  

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Free fall

How 'bout some topical map cartoonin' for today.  This is by Pat Bagley and, while the space jump was successfully completed and there's been 1 1/2 debates since that first one, I think this still works, yes?

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

More Apple Maps fails

The riffs on the Apple Maps fiasco just keep on comin'.  Here's more:
 By the way, I'm not understanding why Columbus Day Monday was last week.(... although I do understand why changing it to "Explorers' Day" makes sense).

 Google Maps itself, apparently, gets in a dig.

 Too soon?

I suspect this is connected to a different meme, but I'm not sure.

Stay on target.

Internet civility everybody!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Leaf it alone

Jim Meddick's Monty has fun with autumn leaves.  I gotta say, though, that message is going to have to be bigger to be legible in Google Earth.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Out of Africa

Another case of mistaken identity at the continental scale.  Usually it's South America that has this problem.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Psychedelic oceans

A constantly updated animated GIF of water temperatures in the Northern Atlantic. There are similar images of every oceanic region and globally at the University of Wisconsin-Madison's Space Science and Engineering Center.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Dawn of chauvinism

This is actually a new comic that we haven't had on this blog before: Pardon My Planet by Vic Lee.  I don't know that this example is particularly funny... maybe it is.  

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Et tu Google?

Now, just to show that Google is not immune to some of the same problems with its Google Maps app that Apple self-inflicted a few weeks ago, here's a few examples from that, though, admittedly, they tend to be far less common or as spectacularly bad as what Apple rolled out:

But Google is still in a position for this comic from "I Can Barely Draw" to be funny:

Earlier this year users of Google Maps found a rash of instances of highways and locations in the USA showing up in very strange places. Strangely this happened soon after Google started notifying a bunch of higher-traffic websites that had built Google Maps mashups into their sites that they would now be charged rather large sums for using what had hitherto been free.  Here are a couple examples:

Monday, October 8, 2012

Super expired

A super episode of the webcomic Basketcasecomix by Kelly Ferguson. Does Superman not have super smelling abilities? ...and how would Lois (assuming that's Lois) know whether Clark/Kal-El had time-traveled again?

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Domino fall of the dinosaurs

Here's a video of some people doing amazing things with dinosaurs and dominoes:
I just want to point out the incredible attention to detail with the asteroid hitting the Yucatan Peninsula (which the K-T boundary event asteroid is said to have done)... as well as the Earth showing Cretaceous-era geography: North America has it's massive shallow inland ocean, Central America is a peninsula, not yet an isthmus, so the Americas are not connected.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Apple maps fail two-fer

Update: I've already posted 2 more collections of Apple Maps cartoons and visual jokes... and am quickly collecting enough material for yet another similarly themed post: Apple Maps post 2, Apple Maps post #3

So the the biggest map-related news thing that hit over these last few weeks was the rollout of Apple's new maps/navigation function on its new mobile operating system, iOS 6 after ditching the Google Maps app.  This has been an unmitigated disaster as Apple's map function is a far cry from being ready for prime time.  This is partly because Apple simply failed to present a quality product, but it has a lot to do with the fact that Google Maps is a massively superior product.  To be sure, Google had similar issues when it rolled out its map product. As we'll see next week, they still do have issues with it.  But Google had far less formidable competition to deal with.  And Google has been sorting out the mind-puddlingly complex geospatial issues involved in delivering a global mapping/navigation product for 7 years now. Their technology is arguably still 10-15 years behind what is actually possible with professional-level GIS software, or at least in terms of the functionality of what they're offering to the public, but their pace of development has been startling.  It could take Apple a decade just to get to where Google is now, by which time Google will have lapped them several times over.

The latest news is that Apple has begged Google to help them out.  So while Apple waits for Google to get around to that, Google has released even more features, such as underwater streetview.

Things with Apple's maps are so bad somebody started a Tumblr of the many, many fails that users have found with it:

The next one is a reference to an internet meme that's been making the rounds since at least 2004: referencing the scene in "The Fellowship of the Rings" movie where Boromir points out that "One does not simply walk into Mordor".

And in yet another internet-meme-based riff on the Apple Maps fail, this one has to do with an amateur's botched attempt to restore a fresco of Jesus in Spain.  Sadly, the woman who's efforts sparked this meme is suffering from severe anxiety now.

Here's one that references the Tom Hanks 2000 movie "Cast Away":